Merger of Archaeology, Tourism departments opposed
- If the State government has its way, one of the oldest archaeological departments in the country established in 1885 that raised the bar for excavation and conservation, may lose its identity or even cease to exist.
- There is a proposal to merge the Archaeology Department fully with the Department of Tourism as part of the endeavour to restructure various branches of the government so as to ‘streamline’ the functioning and administrative procedure.
- Such a move was regressive in nature as the focus of tourism was revenue generation through leisure activities and destination marketing while the objectives of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage was academic in nature given to exploration, excavation and conservation.
- It brought out the antiquity of Karnataka history and culture and with it a slice of Indian history, to the rest of the world.
- The department is credited with the discovery of Ashokan inscription in 1891 at Brahmagiri dating to 250 B.C. which helped establish the southern limits of the Mauryan empire.
Such endeavours including publication of inscriptions, archaeological reports, etc., will take a backseat under the Department of Tourism.